[Copyright: California Journal, August 2002.] Over the past 25 years, the per capita rate of incarceration in America has increased four-fold. More than 2 million individuals are now locked up in prison or jail. The increase has taken on a unique twist in California, particularly in regard to its parole policy. Unlike many other states, nearly every prisoner released in California is placed on parole, and studies indicate the state has an especially tough policy on parole violators. As a result, California is now the national leader in returning parolees to prison and its return rate has increased 30 times between 1980 and 2000.